Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Friday, 8 January 2010

Thanks Met Office!

According to the BBC at 18:49 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010
The Met Office said temperatures could fall to as low as -20C in England.
Do they really call this a weather forecast?

Mrs R can look out of her window, she can see the snow and she can see the clear starry skies and she could see the moon lying on its back, so she has a darned good idea that tonight is going to be extremely cold

She would have expected the Met Office to have been able to predict this "cold snap" more than a couple of days in advance - something pointed out by Andrew Neil when he interviewed John Hirst, the chap who gets paid a small fortune for running the Met Office. Andrew Neil wanted to know why the USA got weather warnings right, but the renowned (and very expensive) Met Office didn't provide an equivalent service for the UK.

Maybe information gleaned via Not a sheep would help, because surely the power supply people get more warning than us mere mortals.

It might be worth checking out this power supply/demand site to work out what the weather will be like. (Unfortunately Mrs R hasn't a clue what the proper name is, there doesn't seem to be a title anywhere.)

Okay, I know, it's getting a bit stale and a bit sameish, but my continued bashing away at the Met Office for being useless is really just a symptom of my/our general unhappiness of/with/about the way things are being done (or not done) in this country right now.

Weather forecasters are there to provide a service, and an accurate service too - because if they don't it means lives can be put at risk.

If there are likely to be storms, whether wind or rain, they should tell us.

If heavy snow or frost is likely, they should tell us.

They should tell us these things long enough in advance so we can make up our own minds about what we do or don't do - because some of us can use our initiative, we're not all totally dependent on government to make decisions about the minutiae of our everyday lives.

If we know what weather is on the way we can make up our minds about whether to take a long journey in a car, maybe to try to visit a very sick relative in a hospital a couple of hundred miles away - and that's the sort of quandary facing us Rigbys at the moment, and the Met Office is doing damn all to help.

Aside from that, we pay them for a service. The service they are supposed to provide is meant to help us decide whether or not it's a good idea to take a long walk in the countryside, maybe go out in a small boat, or even whether or not to plan an outdoor party.

But they don't seem to care, all they want to do is bamboozle us with an agenda designed to make us believe the planet is going to fry - but even if it does, they tell us it won't happen tomorrow, and frankly it's tomorrow that's important to most people, who want to know whether they will be able to get to the shops, whether their children will be able to go to school or college and whether or not they should get out of bed early to try to go to work.

And to make it all worse, Mrs R has just seen a government funded "information advert" telling her and her family not to waste water because the planet is running out of the wet stuff.

Honestly, you couldn't make it up, could you!

When snow melts it turns into water. If we hadn't had this load of snow we'd probably have had lots and lots of rain - like Spain and Portugal.

If the Met Office had made the right forecast at the right time then this advert might not have been shown, and might not, therefore, have been so utterly and ridiculously inappropriate.


418 said...

I would have been even gloomier and added "still" and "yet", thus: "...because some of us can still use our initiative, we're not yet totally dependent on government to make decisions about the minutiae of our everyday lives." The trouble is that when can accurately predict the weather, this government will use that accuracy as a further means of micro-managing the individual: for this reason alone the government really is trying to get the weather right. The shambles at the Met Office is heartening in a way, just like that ramshackle affair called HMG: more chaos there, less control over you and me. Let's keep using our common sense: open the window, look outside and decide for ourselves what kind of day it's going to be!

Mrs R said...

Good grief, are you really expecting me to open the window when it's snowing? :P